3 tips for writing an effective job ad

by Jobbatical April 07, 2016

It’s safe to say that most businesses spend far less time polishing job ads than they do perfecting their sales and investment pitches or marketing materials. It makes sense on the surface — those are the obvious money makers. Recruiting is just that tedious thing that takes far too much time and costs money instead of bringing it in. But your team is a vital asset — why behave like it isn’t? In most cases, your job ad is a job seeker’s first point of contact with your company. Here’s how you can make it count.

1. Be yourself

Don't be a copycat

The personality of a business is a mixture of the personalities of everyone who works there. Some people will inevitably fit in better than others, and those are the people you want to engage with your job ad.

The key word here is engage. Don’t make the mistake of copying and pasting a generic job description you find online because it’s “close enough.” Such role descriptions may diligently list every single task your new hire will be expected to tackle, plus all the requirements, but they lack insight into your company culture. (Unless your company culture is deliberately boring and overly complicated, in which case congratulations: Your job ad matches your business perfectly!)

By posting a soulless job ad, you risk attracting too many applicants who are not good culture fits. That means extra time scanning and filtering CVs. Even if you do hire someone successfully, they could turn out to be the wrong person because of a mismatch in expectations caused by a job ad that doesn’t have anything to do with you.

Recruitment is a lot like dating. You’ll be better off committing to someone who likes you for who you are. And for that to happen, they need to know who you are.

2. Show them you care

Not we but you

Brilliant people have options when it comes to job hunting. Don’t write your job ads like you’d be doing them a favor by hiring them. You should be aiming for a mutually beneficial relationship. Many job adverts are company-centric to the extreme, brimming with “we” and “us” but barely a trace of “you”. Sure, it’s important that you tell your potential hires about yourself (see above), but don’t forget to balance the we- and you-statements, so your candidates know they matter too.

When asking her to join Google, Eric Schmidt (ex-CEO of Google) told Sheryl Sandberg (current Facebook COO):

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

This line is a great example of cocky recruiting. It’s great that you have faith in your company’s ability to go far (and let’s be honest, Google is a pretty extreme example). But how does your potential new teammate fit into the equation, other than “just getting on?”

When you say:

“We are going to change the world.”

Don’t forget to add:

“You will be a vital part of that change.”

People care about their personal growth and being valued. Tell them how you can help each other.

3. Be clear about what you’re offering

Let them know what's in it for them

When it comes to compensation, you can simply mention a “competitive salary” just like everyone else. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you should offer more than vague hints.

Include something that makes your company and the position extra appealing. No one’s expecting a luxury company car or weekly spa treatments, and ping-pong tables really don’t do the trick anymore. What you offer should matter to the applicants and help them in some way. If you’re all about flexible working hours, for example, let the candidates know. If you’re hiring globally, show people how fantastic your city is.

Take this job ad offering the following perk:

“Beautiful and handsome colleagues”

This presumably well-meaning quip received negative comments like:

“What am I supposed to do with those nice looking co-workers?”

There’s nothing wrong with being funny in a job ad. If you’re a fun company, you probably want to attract people with a matching sense of humor, and a little bit of silliness can be a great a filter. Just make sure that the physical beauty of your team isn’t the only benefit of working with you. Because honestly — it really isn’t that much of a perk!

The world is full of job ads. If yours doesn’t stand out, your dream teammate could simply scroll past it without a second thought. Don’t let a boring, overly arrogant or vague job description stand between you and your next brilliant hire.

If you post your jobs on Jobbatical, we’ll help you tweak them at no extra cost. Just let us know what positions you’re looking to fill, and we’ll make sure your job ads are fun and engaging.

Originally published at Hire the World — Jobbatical.

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